With her head in books and her hand in bags, Olympia Le-Tan designs shoulder bags with a twist, for women “with a sense of humour and a love of books.”
Inspired by a childhood spent in a library of literature, (her father is the renowned French illustrator Pierre Le-Tan), Olympia crafts elegantly embroidered clutches that beautifully interpret book covers. “The literary aesthetic came quite naturally,” Olympia explains. “I grew up in a house full of old books with beautiful covers.” Olympia has been a fixture on the French fashion circuit since her first job working at Chanel aged 19. After a seven-year partnership with womenswear designer Gilles Dufour and a stint as resident DJ at club Le Baron, Olympia decided to start her own label, and in 2009 launched her first range of clutches and minaudières.
Interpreting first edition covers of classic novels such as Catcher in the Rye and Lolita, Olympia’s debut collection was an instant success, winning fans in Natalie Portman and Clémence Poésy. Olympia recently unveiled her autumn/winter 11 collection, ‘Housewives Choice’, which, according to the little lady, is based on her own life. “I’m not a real housewife though!” she laughs. “I don’t have a husband yet, but my job is to sew and I love to cook and tidy up. I also love the 50s housewife aesthetic and am very much into Mad Men.” The bags take influence from old cookbooks, children’s stories and novels that reference women and marriage with titles including Tales of A Grandmother, The Years Between and Good Things To Eat. So with a literary fascination that ranges from cookbooks to classics, what will Olympia be reading poolside this summer? “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl and The Leopard by Lampedusa.”